A Two-Step in Texas
Finally… the equipment is put away, the stockers are lined out and growing on wheat, most of the spring calves are here, and I get to write the blog post that I’ve been looking forward to since August! We did have a few weeks of “downtime” in August, and we used one long weekend to cross a few things off our bucket list.
I need to provide a little backstory. In August of 2017, Derek and I went to Rome, Italy and Paris, France using travel rewards and $1,441 of our own savings. Our travels went very smoothly until our flight from Rome to Paris, when I was unable to get on the plane because of a discrepancy between my maiden name, married name, and my flight ticket. To make a long story short, we had to buy last minute tickets with another airline to move on to our next destination. When I returned home I contacted United Airlines to see if there was any way to be reimbursed for the tickets that cost nearly as much as our entire vacation.
I am so pleased to say that United Airlines customer service was very cooperative and understanding, and reimbursed us with a $1,000 travel credit ($500 each). While we didn’t get every dollar back, I am thankful that United took our problem seriously and that we had enough of a travel credit for another trip! The only challenge would be using it before it expired in September 2018.
In an effort to minimize our costs and time away from work, we decided to make it a long-weekend trip to San Antonio and Austin, Texas.
We had three important things on our to-do list :
- Savor authentic Texas BBQ and wash it down with cold Texas beer
- Enjoy a long-awaited dance on a famous wooden dance floor
- Make the absolute most out of our $1,000 United travel credit
Day 1: Fly to Houston and Rent a Jeep
We flew into Houston International Airport on August 25 and went straight to the rental car desks. After doing a little price shopping, it was easy to see that Hertz had the best deals, even on a four door hard top Jeep Wrangler. Looking back, this was one of the best decisions we made on our whole trip! And using our Barclay Arrival Plus Travel Points as reimbursement, this fun set of wheels was completely free.
After making a quick, but delicious stop at Goode Company BBQ, we drove our new wheels three hours to San Antonio and checked in to the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk.
This hotel was another highlight on our trip! The lobby opened directly onto the riverwalk and our room gave us a great view of the Alamo! One night at this hotel cost 12,000 Hyatt points.
Day 2: The Alamo, the Riverwalk, and the Dance I’d Been Waiting For
The next day of our long weekend started with breakfast at Schilo’s, “the oldest Restaurant in San Antonio”. An official tour of the Alamo cost $15 and it took at least three hours to fully appreciate the history of the mission and heroes that died there. The mid day heat was quickly approaching triple digits (why did we choose Texas in August?) so we cooled down with chips and salsa and very expensive margaritas on the Riverwalk. #worthit
In the late afternoon we took the top off our Jeep, hit the road, and found our way to Cooper’s, home of the best BBQ we have ever had. We still dream about those red trays and brown papered beef ribs, dry rubbed and smoked to tender perfection. We could have sat on those family style benches and nursed our food comas until lunch the next day, but we had another very important place to be...
Young girls dream of a lot of things, but since my freshman year of high school I have had a very specific dream of dancing on the worn wooden floor of the Gruene Dancehall. With thoughts of all the legends that had sang and danced there before us, we two stepped to the live band and enjoyed cold Lone Stars until the place closed down. With bellies and hearts full and completely satisfied, we drove on to Austin.
Day 3: 44 Farms, Barton Springs Pool, and More BBQ
We stayed two nights in the Hyatt Regency Austin, with one night costing 15,000 points and the second night free (using our free night that we get every year for our Hyatt Card anniversary). On the morning of day three, we got up early to start the hour drive to Cameron, Texas where we went on a personal (and free) tour of 44 Farms, an angus ranch that produces registered cattle and supplies high quality beef for restaurants all over Texas and the surrounding states. They gave us a very friendly and informative tour of the home ranch, their sale barn, and their newest addition: an old train station converted into an adorable shop for their retail beef and other branded goods.
After an enjoyable morning on the ranch, we headed back to the big city. With the Texas heat back in full swing, we headed immediately for Barton Springs Pool. The pool is a public swimming hole fed by local springs very near downtown Austin. The water was cold, the smooth rocks beneath our feet were slippery, and the view of the city was amazing!
For our last supper in Texas, we found another Cooper’s BBQ in downtown Austin (yes, Cooper’s really is that good)!
Day 4: Reluctantly Give the Keys Back and Fly Home
Not gonna lie, turning in the Jeep keys was painful, but definitely still worth the fun! We made it from Austin back to Houston in about four hours, one hour of which was spent wandering around a Buc-ee’s gas station (they are HUGE, like 100+ gas pumps huge so we had to stop and check out the inside too).
From there, we flew back to Nashville and drove home in my less exciting Ford Focus. It was an amazingly adventurous long weekend, and with the help of our United Airline travel credit, it only cost us 27,000 Hyatt Points, 28,200 Barclay Points, $200 in gas, road tolls, and parking, and an embarrassing amount on incredible food and drinks.
I’m not saying that I want to get stuck in Italy again, but looking back... it all worked out pretty well!
Always looking for the next adventure,
Disclaimer: This content has not been commissioned, endorsed, or guaranteed by any of the entities involved. The reward systems discussed in this article are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone. This article is meant only to inform, not to recommend. All readers are responsible for their own decisions. The author cannot be held liable for any decisions made as a result of reading this article.